Information Literacy:
An Action Plan

St. Olaf College Libraries - March 2000



  1. Summary
  2. Introduction: Historical Context
  3. A Call for Re-Visioning
  4. Call for a Campus-Wide Discussion
  5. Possible Contraints
  6. Proposal for a Coordinated Information Literacy Program
    1. Vision and Goals
    2. Strategy and Priorities
    3. Stakeholders
    4. Resources needed
    5. Implementation of an Information Literacy Program
    6. Program/Developmental Research Skills Program
  7. Appendix: ACRL. Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education, 1999.
  8. Notes


College libraries across the country are in the midst of a gradual but dramatic shift, one that reflects significant academic and societal changes. We are responding to a renewed emphasis on student learning, rapidly expanding electronic resources, burgeoning innovative technologies, expanding interdisciplinary studies, the opportunity and necessity for distance education, and a refined focus on the structure of knowledge. In tune with a nation-wide awareness of “changing knowledge, changing pedagogy, and changing students,” 1  there is growing interest and concern, in libraries and across campuses, in having students graduate fully “information literate.” Basic skills and core competencies are no longer sufficient. Our students need to understand the difference between information and knowledge, to become aware of a variety of disciplinary perspectives, and to participate actively in scholarly discourse. In other words, our graduates need to be fully experienced and engaged in all forms of research needed for personal growth, professional success, leadership which makes a difference, and life-long learning.

St. Olaf College Libraries have had a solid history of providing a program of strong course-integrated library instruction in support of scholarly research. In fact, this program already incorporates much of what is defined nationally as information literacy. In addition, many information literacy competencies and research skills are increasingly embedded in courses across the curriculum. The time is ripe for an interdisciplinary, coordinated, campus-wide dialogue on information literacy and developmental research skills. Building on a strong bibliographic instruction program and a history of collaboration with faculty in various disciplines, the Libraries are proposing an Information Literacy Action Plan. 

Vision and Goal:
To design and implement an innovative Information Literacy/Developmental Research Skills Program firmly grounded in a historically strong bibliographic instruction program, incorporating active cross-campus collaboration, and embedded within the framework of St. Olaf College's curriculum and overall mission.

Strategy and priorities:

  • To review and assess the current bibliographic instruction program.

  • To support a campus-wide focus on the research process in the midst of rapidly expanding information resources and technologies.

  • To develop and articulate a definition of information literacy and/or a developmental research skills sequence  appropriate for St. Olaf College and its students.

  • To design and implement an information literacy/developmental research skills program that is sensitive to disciplinary distinctions and builds on the earlier 3-tiered model of bibliographic instruction. 

  • To offer to faculty professional development opportunities to become familiar with a variety of information resources, explore different research strategies, and redesign courses with information literacy/ developmental research skills integrated into the course objectives.

  • To collaborate with faculty in developing new paradigms of research instruction across the curriculum.

  • To collaborate with appropriate institutional offices to develop evaluation tools which allow for regular assessment of student learning, outcomes, and the effectiveness of the program.

  • To develop a sense of shared ownership of the program by participating constituencies. 

  • Evidence and Assessment:
    In collaboration with constituencies across campus, data - both formal and informal - will be collected to assess (1) students' acquisition of developmental research skills (2) collaboration between librarians, faculty in other disciplines, and the ACC (3) curricular innovation that supports information literacy.

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